New America, formerly the New America Foundation, is a centrist think tank in the United States. It focuses on a range of public policy issues, including national security studies, technology, asset building, health, gender, energy, education, and the economy. The organization is based in Washington, D.C., with additional offices in New York City and Oakland.
Ted Halstead served as New America's founding President and CEO from 1999 to 2007. Steve Coll served as New America's second President. In 2013, Anne-Marie Slaughter became President of New America, replacing Steve Coll. Google's Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, is the chairman of the foundation's board of directors.
Although the organization describes itself as "non-partisan", its policy views have been characterized as liberal or left-leaning. The New America Foundation has been criticized for its perceived close ties with Google, including its decision to fire an employee who criticized Google as a monopoly. The organization, however, has denied improper influence.
1 History, mission and funding
1.1 Affiliation with Google
2 Organization and structure
2.1 Foreign policy
2.3 Education Policy Program
2.4 Fellows program
3 Open Technology Institute
3.1 New America NYC
3.2 Measurement Lab
3.3 Commotion Wireless
3.4 Red Hook Wi-Fi
5 External links
7 External links
History, mission and funding
Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO of New America
New America was founded in 1999 by Ted Halstead, Sherle Schwenninger, Michael Lind, and Walter Russell Mead as a non-profit, public policy institute whose stated mission is to "invest in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States". The organization has a staff of over a hundred employees and fellows with offices in Washington, D.C., and New York City.
The organization continues to "emphasize work that is responsive to the changing conditions and problems of our 21st-century information-age economy" with "big ideas, impartial analysis and pragmatic solutions". Newsweek's Howard Fineman called it a "hive of state-of-the-art policy entrepreneurship".
With 140 donors in 2013, the top donors, giving more than $1,000,000 each, were the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Lumina Foundation, Eric and Wendy Schmidt, and the US Department of State.
Affiliation with Google
New America has been criticized for its close links with Google, a leading sponsor. According to media reports, to please Google, New America in 2017 closed a whole research group—the Open Markets group— and terminated its employee Barry Lynn, who had criticized Google as a monopoly and called for it to be broken up. Reportedly, Google made New America take this action because the researchers, including prominent young competition law scholar Lina Khan, had lauded the EU's antitrust ruling against Google. New America's president Anne-Marie Slaughter denied the allegations of improper influence by Google.
Organization and structure
The organization houses programs and initiatives that focus on domestic, economic and global issues; and also houses a fellowship program.
Congressman Jim Moran speaking at New America Foundation
The foundation's National Security Studies Program researches and analyzes global issues, from the inner workings of al-Qaeda to overall national foreign policy strategy. With the presence of journalists such as Steve Coll and Peter Bergen, it has carved out a policy niche in the issues of Afghanistan and counter-terrorism. Bergen, who leads the program, is a CNN national security analyst and author of several best-selling books, including The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda. Coll, former president of New America, has also written several books on al-Qaeda and Afghanistan, including the 2005 Pulitzer Prize winner for general non-fiction, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden. James Risen in The New York Times complimented Coll on "revealing how Saudi Arabia and its intelligence operations aided the rise of Osama bin Laden and Islamic extremism in Afghanistan".
The foundation also has a policy focus on the Middle East with its Middle East Task Force, directed by Leila Hilal, which covers analysis and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa.
The foundation's Economic Growth Program, directed by New America co-founders Sherle Schwenninger and Michael Lind, aims to take a policy look at America and the world's economic problems. In 2011, the program commissioned a paper "The Way Forward: Moving From the Post-Bubble, Post-Bust Economy to Renewed Growth and Competitiveness" which warned of the severe economic problems America would face if continued on its current path. The program did not believe in immediate government deficit reduction; it believed that will only make the situation worse. Instead, as stated in the paper, it had other suggestions, including investing in a sustained infrastructure program, lasting from five to seven years, to create jobs and demand.
Formerly, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget was a part of New America until it separated to become the Fix the Debt campaign. The bipartisan Committee ran a number of projects, including U.S. Budget Watch, a project funded by Pew Charitable Trusts which reports on important fiscal issues relating to the 2008 election and afterwards. One of its more recent initiatives is the "Go Big" initiative, which was created after the Budget Control Act of 2011, enacted in early August to raise the debt-ceiling and avoid default. The effort urged a bipartisan 12-member Joint Congressional Committee on Deficit Reduction, also known as the Super Committee, with finding an additional $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction by November 23.
Maya MacGuineas, who has worked at the Brookings Institution as well as on Wall Street, led the Committee and now leads Fix the Debt. After advising politicians from both parties, she serves as a trusted mediator on budget talks between Democrats and Republicans. In addition, in April 2010 the Committee's policy director, Marc Goldwein, joined President Obama's bipartisan Fiscal Commission. Goldwein, 26, was also named one of the Forbes' "30 under 30".
Education Policy Program
New America's Education Policy Program comprises scholars on pre-k to K-12 through higher education and into the workforce. The policy staff produce the EdCentral blog. It also comprises the Federal Education Budget Project, which serves as a "source of information on federal education funding for policymakers, the media, and the public."
The organization provides fellowships to "foster the next generation of thinkers and public intellectuals" through the Bernard L. Schwartz Fellows program. The fellowship "supports talented journalists, academics and other public policy analysts who offer a fresh and often unpredictable perspective on the major challenges facing our society". Alumni of the program include Jacob Hacker, Megan McArdle, Katherine Boo, Robert Wright, Tim Wu, Chris Hayes, Romesh Ratnesar, David Auerbach, and Dayo Olopade.
Open Technology Institute
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New America hosts talks and public events on their program topics. Pictured is author Cory Doctorow speaking about copyright in June 2010.
The Open Technology Institute (OTI) is the technology program of the New America Foundation. OTI formulates policy and regulatory reforms to support open architectures and open-source innovations and facilitates the development and implementation of open technologies and communications networks. Additionally, OTI is actively developing open-source, low-cost community wireless networks, particularly in underserved areas.
Th OTI led by Kevin Bankston has become one of the largest programs within the organization. Focus areas of OTI include wireless community networks building, the creation and management of an open source platform that supports broadband research tools and speed tests, the development of a platform (called Commotion Wireless) to lower barriers for building distributed communications networks, among other projects.
In the same vein of technology, the foundation Future Tense initiative, a partnership with Arizona State University and Slate Magazine, explores emerging technologies and their effects on society and public policy. Central to the partnership is a series of events in Washington, D.C., that take an in-depth look at issues that, while little-understood today, could reshape the policy debates of the coming decade.
New America NYC
Launched in winter 2011–12, New America NYC is an initiative that aims to further the foundation's goals of research and policy innovation. The space, located in SoHo, hosts several events each month generally focused on politics, media, and culture.
Measurement Lab (M-Lab) is an open, distributed server platform for researchers to deploy Internet measurement tools founded in 2009 by Vint Cerf, Sascha Meinrath, and several other academics, researchers, and institutions. The project has grown to have 45 servers at 15 locations around the global and currently supports five tools. All the data collected by M-Lab is made available to the research community.
Main article: Commotion Wireless
Commotion, is an open source “device-as-infrastructure” communication platform that integrates users’ existing cell phones, Wi-Fi-enabled computers, and other wireless-capable devices to create community- and metro-scale, peer-to-peer communications networks. The project builds on existing mesh wireless technologies and gained widespread attention when, in 2011, the U.S. State Department announced funding for Commotion to lower barriers for building distributed communications networks. The project has been described as the "Internet in a Suitcase" by The New York Times.
Red Hook Wi-Fi
Main article: Red Hook Wi-Fi
Founded in 2011 through a collaboration with OTI and Commotion Wireless, Red Hook Wi-Fi is a mesh network which services residents of Red Hook, Brooklyn in New York City. The Wi-Fi network reached prominence in 2012, when Hurricane Sandy shutdown many internet and communication systems throughout the city, but Red Hook remained connected through its mesh network.